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Old 03-01-2013, 09:48 PM   #1
CaptnJim OP
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Question Old dog considering new tricks (scooters)

Hello forum folks. This is my first post here. Officially a n00b as far as posts go, but my wife and I have been riding motorcycles for 45 years. We've owned 23 motorcycles (H-Ds, Goldwings, BMWs, a few Yamahas, and some other Hondas, and my current ride: a V-Strom), and have plenty of miles on the odometer.

It seems that I may be "coming full circle"... I got my first motorcycle at age 14, a Honda 150 Dream. We are now considering a couple scooters in the 125 - 150 range. Yes, we expect some friends to laugh about that... we're done with full dressers, sport tourers, and making miles. We plan to haul these behind an RV (we already have a FeatherLite cargo trailer), and check out some "blue roads."

When I have bought motorcycles in the past, I called my dealer friend, told him what I want, and said, "How much?" And always got an answer. Apparently things are not the same with scooters... the price they put on 'em doesn't include the shipping, the assembly, buying Girl Scout cookies from the saleman's kid, getting his dog wormed, floor rental space for the display model, and every other charge they can think of.

We walked out of one dealership today when I told the salesman to give me the "out the door price for two of these"... and when he came back, he had over 40% more added on the MSRP. When I told him my opinion of that practice, he came back with, "Well, what are you willing to pay?"

Wrong game. Give me the price. I'll take it or leave it (we left it). ("Don't leave - I wasn't done!" Yes, he really said that.) This was for a pair of Honda PCX 150s. We also looked at the Yamaha Zuma, the Genuine Buddy 125 (they didn't have a 170i), a couple Kymcos, and my wife was kinda taken with the looks of a Lance Cali-Classic (I think she liked the buckhorn bars )

So, that's the background. A few questions:

1. Are these Taiwanese manufactuers (Kymco, SYM, Genuine PGO) really as good as Honda and Yamaha?

2. We travel a lot. Most small towns have a Honda or Yamaha dealer - how do you get parts/service for those other brands?

3. The dealer with the PCX 150s today was the only one where we were ready to buy... until the BS game-playing. Are they all like this with all the extra charges that aren't on the "listed price"??

I don't have to buy these things right now, but I was ready to. Reading some of the price discussions on this forum leads me to believe that there are dealers who will give you an OTD price; but I can see that there are plenty who want to play games.

I don't want to play games, I want to ride.

Thanks for listening (um, reading). I look forward to your replies.

Best wishes,
CaptnJim
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:02 PM   #2
tortoise2
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Location might be helpful. Not much point in providing Arizona information if you are shopping in Florida (or visa versa).
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:23 PM   #3
CaptnJim OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoise2 View Post
Location might be helpful. Not much point in providing Arizona information if you are shopping in Florida (or visa versa).
Hi Tortoise2. Currently, we are in the Phoenix, AZ, area. We are retired and travel a lot. We will be in this area during March - then, out and about again. Probably spending the summer in the Pacific Northwest, but I'd prefer to get something soon.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:58 PM   #4
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A 10" wheel scooter such as the Genuine 125 is going to initially feel very "twitchy" to an experienced motorcycle rider, as compared to the 16" wheel geometry of a SYM HD200.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:04 PM   #5
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Sadly most Japanese dealers play that BS game. I bought my last 2 new Japanese bikes by phone and email. I called the dealership That had what I wanted, and asked to talk to the sales manager (NOT a commissioned salesperson) I told them what I wanted, and told them I was ready to buy RIGHT NOW if the price was right. I told him that if we could agree on a price, I would leave a credit card deposit right then, as soon as I got the numbers in an email. I flat out told him the deal depended on the price, I was paying cash, and was not interested in payments, extended warranties, or service contracts. It worked, both times. Faced with a guaranteed sale if the numbers were right, I got the bikes for MSRP, plus sales tax, title, and registration, plus a $75 doc fee. (their normal doc fee is $350) no freight, no setup, no cookies. I got the total by email, called him back, left a $500 deposit, and again asked for the exact amount I still owed, to make sure things hadn't changed, then told him I would be paying the balance with a cashiers check. That was so they couldn't try to pull something when I went to pick up the bike. Both times the mentioned the extended warranty, and both times I just tapped on the cashiers check laying on the desk.

I have been ripped off by Japanese dealers before, but no more. They will usually take a guaranteed fir profit sale that can be completed real quick, rather than pass up the opportunity. They need to move bikes. Bikes sitting on the floor depreciating are costing them money. And by doing it the way I did, I avoided an argument and having to walk out, which I have also done a number of times. Most of the time their games work, once the customer is at the dealership, has sat on the bike, been given "free" coffee, etc. Don't let it get that far.


As far as the scooters themselves, Kymco, Genuine, and SYM are the same quality as Japanese bikes. Not sure about the Cali Classic. It's an oddball. It says Lance on it, and they have a bad reputation from importing cheap basically junk Chinese bikes. But it is supposedly made by SYM, and if that is really true, then it should be fine. I have been unable to confirm just what it really is.

Another nice thing about the Taiwanese brands, is their dealers usually don't try to scam you like Japanese dealers do. Not that there aren't some bad ones out there.

I would definitely go for at least 150cc. I have an '08 Yamaha Vino 125, and a recently purchased 2012 Zuma 125. Both are a blast to ride, But for me they have one fatal flaw. They are not freeway legal. And while I did not buy them to ride on the freeway, I do like to take long trips on them, and to get to a lot of places I want to go, I have to get on the freeway for a few miles. I've done it (many 150s are no faster than my 125s) and have not YET been caught by the police. But it is something that constantly worries me, and all because of 25cc. You may think you will never go near a freeway, and some freeways (mostly of the urban variety) you shouldn't. But there are ways around them. Things may change, and you may want/need limited freeway capability. When spending the kind of money a decent scooter costs, it can be a very expensive mistake if you do change your mind.


I would not buy the Honda PCX150. It is a fine scooter, AND freeway legal. But it has a valve adjustment procedure you wouldn't believe. According to the maintenance schedule, the valves need to be checked every 2000-2500 miles, and it is a 3 hour job, because you have to practically tear the whole scooter apart to get to the valves. On my Vino and Zuma it is a 15 minute job. I have 24,000 miles on the Vino (yes they are all mine) and have adjusted the valves once. But I like being able to check them easy whenever I want.

Due to a trade in issue, I needed a Japanese scooter. I chose the Zuma 125 over the PCX150 solely based on the PCX's valve issues.

If you are looking in that price range, the Genuine Buddy 150 or 170 are great scooters, and for a tiny bit more, if you can find one, you can get a Genuine Blur 220. The Kymco Super 8 150 is a good scooter, but for travel, the Like 200, base or LX, is even better. The SYM RV200 and HD200 are excellent scooters. The Aprilia SportCity 250 is a great scooter with plenty of power for highway use, but it seems to be impossible to find a new one. A local dealer has a couple of '09s that are filthy and all scratched up, and they want full MSRP for them. If they sold them for what they really are, and priced them accordingly, I might very well be interested.

It sounds like one of the Taiwanese scooters from Kymco, Genuine, or SYM may be for you. You can't go wrong with any of them. You just have to be careful not to get ripped off when buying them. Know before you go in that freight, setup, and excessive doc fees are bogus, and just pure profit for the dealer. If you tell them up front that you are ready to buy TODAY if the price is right, you might very well avoid a lot of hassle and arguing.

And put some thought into the size. If I were about to buy a small scooter, it would definitely be a 150cc or larger. Just for the freeway legality if you ever want or need it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:32 PM   #6
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Great post, Jerry. I've read about the valve issue with the PCX. I looked at a post on another forum, showing the procedure in detail... looks like a lot of messing with body parts just to get to check the valve clearance. Fortunately, I am a retired guy.

The dealer we walked out of today doesn't allow demo rides... I guess I have been spoiled by the dealer where we used to live.

We did try out a Buddy 125 - it felt pretty small. Haven't tried a Zuma... that was my wife's first choice until she sat on the Honda.

I did send out quote requests to dealers in the area... it was late afternoon, so no responses, yet. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

And for Marine by Choice, your suggestion is appreciated, but we are looking for something light this time around... I think the B400 is more than we want to wrestle.

I have to chuckle at myself here. The V-Strom I currently have is the smallest bike I've owned since I was a teenager. My wife looked at a Vino 125 a couple years ago, and was quite taken with it... Recently, she suggested a couple small scooters... and, here we are.

Thanks again for the advice, folks.

CaptnJim
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:00 AM   #7
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The Buddy 125, Vino 125 (which is no longer available new) and the Zuma 125 are all great scooters, other than being 125s. The Buddy 170 is the same size as the 125 on the outside. If you need a physically bigger scooter (and I'm 6' 225, with a 34" inseam, and fit on the 125s fine) check out the Genuine Blur 220, and the SYM RV200 and HD200. I like the RV because it has smaller wheels. To me being a scooter means small wheels. If you are determined to get a PCX150 at a fair price, it can be done, you just have to go about it the right way. Most dealer sites that have that request a quote thing will not give you an online quote, they will call you, or email you and ask you to call them, when they will try to play games. When you are ready to buy, it is better to call them, ask for the sales manager, tell them you are ready to buy, but the deal depends on the numbers. Like I said, not too many will turn down a guaranteed easy sale, even if they don't make an insane profit like they want. They have to move bikes to stay in business, so a fair profit is better than no profit. Best of luck with it.

Oh, BTW, I don't know what state you are in, but stay FAR away from any RIDE NOW dealers. They started in AZ, and have spread to several other states. You will not get a fair deal from them, I've tried. I don't even know how they stay in business, other than it looks like P.T. Barnum was right.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:16 AM   #8
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There are a lot of us on this forum who started riding scooters after many years on motorcycles. I bought my first scooter, a Kymco Super 8 150 after having ridden motorcycles over 30 years. I love my Kymco as well as my Aprilia Sport City 250 which I bought as a 2 up touring bike.

For the size scooter you are looking for I'll second JerryH's recomendation to get something made in Taiwan; Kymco, Sym or Genuine. Of those, Kymco has the most extensive dealer network. I think Kymco has a larger dealer network than anyone outside of HD and the Japanese Brands.

If you want to see what these smaller scooters are capable of, here's links to some of my ride reports:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=647784
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=693143
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=803404
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=670468

As for all the add on's to the price, most motorcycle dealer's are doing that today. I bought both my Kymco and Aprilia well below MSRP.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:02 PM   #9
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For travelling, I'd stick with the Honda/Yamaha. Once you've narrowed it down, contact several dealers through their on-line sales department. I wouldn't even bother with the commissioned salespeople. It's been my experience that the on-line sales folks are salaried management. They don't have time to play games and they have the direct authority to make deals. Let them know you're shopping around and if their price is right, you'll point the RV in their direction.

Put the same request out to several dealers within a five hundred mile radius and just check your inbox. Have them send you the sales agreement as an email attachment, just to make sure there's no last minute shenanigans.

BTW, on-line sales folk will toss in freebies (extended warranty, optional equipment, etc.) to close the deal and then they like to tweak the commissioned salespeople that they've made sale without ever leaving their desk. I think it's because they were on the floor in the beginning and now they like to strut a bit.

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Old 03-01-2013, 11:04 PM   #10
Marine By Choice
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Burgman?

How about Burgman 400? Can find REALLY NICE used ones on Craigslist quite reasonably priced.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:27 AM   #11
John Fabian
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SYM HD 200 Evo

I am looking at the SYM HD 200 Evo as a great value for money scooter right now. I prefer large wheels to small and the 171cc engine size is just right for me. I see some others on here have recommended it too. Happy trails.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:52 AM   #12
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Genuine scooters are extremely reliable and even the 125cc is capable of handling 55-60 easily. They are also very durable as my son is still riding our 2006 as his daily transport for school and work. He's been riding it since he was 15 but will lose it in a few months to his younger brother who turns 15 in a few months. Its a perfect in town and non-highway scoot. Over the 6.5 years we've had it other than routine maintenance our only repairs have been replacing a broken mirror (my son banged it against a wall parking too close to it) and plugging the horn back in when the connector came lose (probably when my son switched out the front panel for one of a different color). Body parts are cheap, you can replace every bit on the scoot for less than $300 and the engine just goes on and on.

I'd put Genuine (PGO), Kymco and Sym on par with the Honda bikes in quality and better bang for the buck. Parts are readily available for Buddys and other Genuine scoots shipped from Chicago and finding someone to work on them has been easy. Our local Houston dealership didn't give me any of that "fees" for this and that. I paid list price and I think a $50 or something like that paperwork fee. Which was a lot better than the $250 dealer prep fee on my Aprilia Scarabeo 500 plus state tax/registration which the dealer doesn't get so I don't count it. Out the door price was about 12% over list including fees and taxes on the Scarabeo but I really don't remember on the Buddy since I bought it new in 2006. So if your dealer is looking for 40% more then find someone else.

At the time I bought the Buddy the only scoot in a similar price range I considered was the Vino but performance and reviews swayed me to the Buddy and I'm very glad that's what I bought. I've been on rides with folks on Vinos and the same size Buddy out performs them considerably. I'd buy another in a heartbeat.

One of the nice things about the 125-200cc range of small wheeled scoots is that they are extremely easy to move around which makes loading and unloading them from a truck, versahauler or trailer very easy. I can load one on a trailer or versahaulter myself, something I could never have done with safely with the Burgman we used to own.

Larger wheeled scoots like the Sym mentioned, Kymco Like/People or Aprilia Sports City, Scarabeo or BV are not as nimble but are better if you plan any highway riding but that doesn't sound like what you want to use the scoots for. Dealer support and parts for Sym are a bit harder to find right now since they just went through a US distributor change so I'd probably wait on buying one of them if you are concerned about getting service done.

I'd steer clear of Lance Cali for the reasons mentioned earlier. The Lance Cali is a knock off of the Aprilia Mojito which has been discontinued but used the Piaggio/Vespa/Aprilia 150cc engine so is pretty easy to still find parts for and I agree with your wife that it has classic good looks.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:53 PM   #13
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Sounds like you're fulltimers. (sigh)
All of the recommendations above are spot on. I'm looking at a new Zuma myself.
The only down side to Genuine, if you want to call it that, is the fact that the warranty will not transfer to a second owner.
In my part of the country there aren't a lot of dealers for them.

Good luck, and never stop traveling.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:06 PM   #14
Dranrab Luap
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I read a few days ago that modern Zuma 125s are made in China FWIW.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:53 PM   #15
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Thanks again for the replies. This morning, I checked the computer to see how many of the dealers had responded to my request for price quotes... a grand total of... one. The price was more in line with what I was thinking. My lovely wife was out shopping with our daughter, so I had to wait until this evening to discuss all of this. In the meantime, the salesman that we originally talked with at the Honda dealer (not the one who was a dumas) called, apologized for the other guy's behavior, and shot me an even better deal. I told him I'd get back to him by Monday.

So, we now have the game-playing out of the way. My wife has become completely sold on the PCX 150, but not particularly that dealership. Our experience with Hondas of all sorts over the years has been extremely good (7 bikes, 1 car, 3 outboards, 1 generator, a snow-blower, and a partridge in a pear tree). Western Honda (amongst others) never responded to my e-mail. The two used bikes suggested in a post here sound good, but are 2011 miles from our current location, and no plans to be in the South Carolina area anytime soon. The recommendations of the Taiwanese manufacturers is appreciated.

We are not full-time RVers, but divide our time between the RV, our boat, and a small "vacation home." Like most full-time RVers, though, we do go where "the weather suits our clothes." And it just seems like a couple scooters will fit in with that. We'll see. The question isn't "two wheels or four?" We know we like two wheels, it's just a matter of picking and fitting them into our traveling.

Turns out, the picking is tougher than our last purchase of a boat or a diesel truck... I did the research, we decided what fit our needs, made the purchase, and didn't look back. Of course, with those purchases, there were fewer model options, and we dealt with a hometown truck dealership and the boat factory. None of this game crap. No concern that we might get something that wasn't well-made. Yes, I know the price of admission for the scooters isn't as much, but it is tougher to put a value on enjoyment vs frustration.

Thanks again for the replies and suggestions. While I may not follow them all (my dear departed Mother always said I tend to be that way), this has been helpful.

Best wishes,
Captain Jim
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